When it comes to tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles, staying safe on the road is a big deal— and identifying potential brake problems is a key part of that.
Truck accidents are catastrophic, life-altering events that can result in severe injuries and fatalities. That's why regular maintenance and routine safety inspections are essential. Unfortunately, some commercial trucks didn't pass the test during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) Brake Safety Week.
During the CVSA's Brake Safety Week, which took place in August, inspectors across Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. conducted 18,875 inspections on commercial motor vehicles, focusing on brake systems. While a large portion of commercial trucks (87.4%) had no brake-related out-of-service violations, 12.6% did have brake-related violations, resulting in them being taken out of service.
Brake Safety Week 2023
The focus of this weeklong inspection and enforcement initiative was to examine the brake systems and components of commercial motor vehicles, with inspectors submitting brake-related data to the CVSA.
Brake-related out-of-service violations refer to critical vehicle inspection item violations that lead to a commercial vehicle being placed out of service, restricting it from further travel.
Such violations include issues like:
- Broken brake drums
- Loose air tanks
- Corroded holes in spring brake housings
- Inoperative tractor protection valves
Additionally, service brake violations, such as cracked linings, brake adjustment problems, or loose chambers, may collectively result in a vehicle being placed out of service under the 20% brake criterion. Some service brake violations automatically lead to a vehicle being placed out of service when found on the steering axle.
Of the 18,875 commercial motor vehicles inspected, 2,375 (12.6%) were taken off the road due to brake-related out-of-service violations. Of these, 295 (12.4%) had steering axle brake violations, 1,127 (47.5%) had standalone brake violations, and 1,394 (58.7%) failed the 20% defective brakes criterion.
Lining/pad violations in the spotlight
The primary focus area for Brake Safety Week in 2023 was lining/pad violations. During inspections, which mirrored regular examinations of commercial motor vehicle components, inspectors checked brake lining/pads for issues like cracks, voids, contamination, and wear. A total of 379 power (tractor) units and 261 towed (trailer) units were found to have lining/pad violations, with the breakdown as follows:
- Contaminated: 214 power units and 59 towed units (40.03%)
- Cracks/Voids: 98 power units and 98 towed units (28.74%)
- Loose/Missing: 25 power units and 48 towed units (10.70%)
- Worn: 64 power units and 76 towed units (20.53%)
Although lining/pad violations are not always out-of-service violations, they can affect a motor carrier's safety rating if left unaddressed. Additionally, these violations can become out-of-service violations when they occur on the steering axle or are combined with other brake violations that meet the 20% brake criterion.
What are the dangers of faulty brakes on commercial trucks?
When a commercial truck has faulty or defective brakes, it poses a significant safety risk to both the truck driver and everyone else on the road. Brakes are a crucial component of any vehicle's safety system, but they are especially vital for large commercial trucks due to their size and weight.
Faulty brakes can lead to a range of dangerous situations and potential hazards, including:
- Reduced Stopping Power: Faulty brakes may fail to provide the necessary stopping power, which is critical for large trucks. This inability to stop effectively can make it difficult for truck drivers to respond to sudden obstacles or changing traffic conditions, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Loss of Control: Braking issues can make it challenging for drivers to maintain control of their trucks, particularly in adverse weather conditions. This can result in skidding and loss of steering control, leading to the truck veering into other lanes or off the road.
- Rollover Risk: Large commercial trucks carrying heavy loads are at a higher risk of rollovers when their brakes fail to slow down or navigate turns safely. Rollover accidents can have devastating consequences, often involving multiple vehicles and causing serious injuries or fatalities.
- Chain-Reaction Collisions: Truck accidents with faulty brakes can trigger chain-reaction collisions. If a truck driver is unable to stop in time, it can lead to other vehicles colliding with the truck or each other, escalating the severity of the accident.
- Rear-End Truck Accidents: Faulty brakes can lead to rear-end collisions where a truck crashes into the vehicle in front due to inadequate braking capacity. These accidents can result in significant damage and fatal injuries, especially if the truck is carrying a heavy load.
- Runaway Truck Incidents: When brakes fail, a truck can become a runaway vehicle on steep slopes or highways. This situation can be extremely dangerous, as the truck may be uncontrollable and pose a severe hazard to other road users.
Our attorneys hold negligent trucking companies accountable
At Tracey Fox & Walters, our experienced Texas truck accident lawyers have seen the devastating consequences of truck accidents caused by faulty or defective brakes. We understand the nuances of these cases and are dedicated to helping victims seek the compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident due to faulty brakes, you don't have to face the aftermath alone. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident, work with experts to determine liability, and build a strong case on your behalf. We are committed to helping you recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related expenses.
With years of experience handling truck accident claims in Texas, we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to fight for your rights. Don't hesitate to reach out to Tracey Fox & Walters for a free consultation to discuss your potential legal case. We are here to help you pursue justice and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today. We have offices conveniently located in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, Texas.